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USMCA and NAFTA: Understanding the Differences


Learn key provisions of the new agreement and how they will impact North American trade and your bottom line.

Since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) in 1994, trade between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico has more than tripled, and the North American economy and supply chain networks have become even more integrated. With the adoption of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which updates NAFTA in key ways, and with reconsideration of far-flung global supply chain networks in the wake of COVID-19 and national security concerns about dependence on China, we are entering a new era of North American economic integration. This topic will provide background on the USMCA and provide a practical summary of the key provisions of the new agreement, and how they will impact North American trade and your bottom line. The material will also discuss the phased implementation of the USMCA by the United States, Canada, and Mexico, enforcement mechanisms, and highlight key issues and potential pitfalls going forward. In short, this information is critical for anyone involved in the new, post-USMCA era of cross-border North American trade.



Seth Stodder

Seth Stodder

Atlantic Council

  • Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council of the United States – Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security
  • Lecturer in Law, University of Southern California Law School – Teaching National Security Law and Policy
  • Former Senior U.S. National Security, Border, Immigration and Trade Official; served in the Obama Administration as Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Borders, Immigration & Trade, and Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for Threat Prevention and Security; served in the Bush Administration as Director of Policy for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), immediately after the 9/11 attacks; in these roles, he led diplomatic engagements with both Mexico and Canada, and was deeply involved in the development of the “smart border” agreements that strengthened the security of North America after 9/11, while also facilitating the cross-border movement of lawful trade essential to fulfilling the promise of NAFTA and USMCA; also oversaw implementation of the “single window” for U.S. Government analysis of trade data for risk assessment purposes, the development of the DHS strategy for facilitating the secure cross-border flow of e-commerce, and ongoing discussions with Canada and Mexico aimed at expanding the secure flow of lawful trade across our shared borders; also oversaw all national security reviews of foreign investments and represented the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)
  • Former Partner at Holland & Knight LLP, advising clients on international trade and customs issues, CFIUS, immigration and visa matters, cybersecurity and data privacy, government investigations, and national/homeland security
  • Frequent writer, speaker and media commentator on national/homeland security, borders, immigration, trade, cybersecurity, human rights, and foreign affairs
  • Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Pacific Council on International Policy; serves on the Global Advisory Board for the International Summit on Borders, and on the Alumni Leadership Council for the German Marshall Fund of the United States; member of the California State Bar, as well as the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States
  • J.D. degree, University of Southern California Law School; B.A. degree, Haverford College
  • Can be contacted at 310-944-0592 or [email protected]

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